Luther College Chips

Día de los Muertos

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Colton  Schlines ('21) provides face painting for Jasmin Arias ('21).

Colton Schlines ('21) provides face painting for Jasmin Arias ('21).

Andrea Hernandez Delgado ('22) | Chips

Andrea Hernandez Delgado ('22) | Chips

Colton Schlines ('21) provides face painting for Jasmin Arias ('21).

Andrea Hernandez Delgado, Staff Writer

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Latines Unides celebrated Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, in the Regents North Gym on Thurs., Nov. 1. This holiday originated in Mexico and honors the spirits of the deceased. The event included traditional festivities, refreshments, face painting, live music, a taco truck, and other activities.

“We wanted to make sure this was an authentic cultural experience,” Latines Unides President Italee Castellon (‘19) said. “It’s what we know from our experience with this holiday. What we know is sugar skulls and tamales and pan dulce and everything else that we brought.”

Día de los Muertos is most often celebrated in Mexican households as a day for families to cherish loved ones who have passed away. It is believed to be the only time of year when the spirits of those deceased can return and enjoy the offerings their loved ones have put out for them.

Andrea Hernandez Delgado (’22) | Chips
Maria Morales (’20) and Darryl Victor (’19) dance to the music of Jolette Rivera.

Typically, ofrendas are set up in memory of a person that family members or friends want to remember. Ofrendas are home altars that have food and items the deceased person enjoyed during their life and they are a pathway for those who have passed away to return to the land of the living.

Oftentimes these altars display photos of the deceased along with their favorite items. They also have water and soap for the deceased to wash their hands before they enjoy their offering, as well as silverware for them to eat their food when they visit. Latines Unides created an ofrenda in the Dahl Centennial Union in the weeks leading up to Día de los Muertos, which showcased many deceased family members’ pictures, including Castellon.

Andrea Hernandez Delgado (’22) | Chips
La ofrenda for Día de los Muertos, made by Latines Unides.

“Día de los Muertos is a day to feel and be close, spiritually, with those who have passed,” Castellon said. “For me it is very important to celebrate it because this is how I remember people who have passed away in my family, like my mom.”

The Día de los Muertos celebration also provided different types of traditional food, such as tamales. A tamal is a traditional dish made from corn dough and meat and cooked in a corn husk. Another table served pan dulce, or sweet bread, which is often eaten during breakfast with coffee, milk, or hot chocolate. Stephanie Nevarez Ramirez (‘22) helped choose what to serve at the Día de los Muertos celebration.

“We wanted to have traditional foods that people actually bring as gifts to ofrendas,” Ramirez said. “Therefore most or all of these foods are common in parts of Latin America during this time of year.”

Andrea Hernandez Delgado (’22) | Chips
Stephanie Almquist (’21) and Mackenzie Zenk (’21) enjoy tacos and Jarritos.

The festival offered a variety of drink options, including champurrado, a thick and warm beverage, and Jarritos, bottled fruit-flavored sodas. Along with the readily available food and beverage choices, there were many activities for attendees to participate in.

Attendees were able to paint candy skulls, which is a traditional activity for Día de los Muertos.  Guests also enjoyed activities like face painting while listening to music in both English and Spanish. They danced and sang along to popular hits that Jolette Rivera, a finalist for The Voice Kids, sang throughout most of the evening.

“This was an opportunity for people to bond while enjoying good food and fun activities,” Khwanhatai Kongkapetch (‘20) said.

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